Hey everyone from NYWC 2011!

Thanks for making our youth ministry workshop on small group leaders so fun this weekend — I enjoyed meeting many of you and here are the links from the 99 Thoughts for Small Group Leader trainings I promised you this weekend:


We’re heading into fall … which means a ton of new volunteers are going to be needed to help with your youth ministry. What a great time! Now … this is a must in today’s culture – have all of them been background checked? This is a non-negotiable for us – vote in today’s poll where your ministry fits in!


UPDATE: The gang over at Simply Youth Ministry told me that SYMTools has a great solution for the youth ministry that doesn’t have background checks yet. Be sure to check out their TEAM online volunteer software – might just be perfect fit!

Hey everyone from CMTA 2011! Thanks for making our youth ministry workshops fun this weekend – I enjoyed meeting many of you and here are the links from the 99 Thoughts for Youth Workers trainings I promised you this weekend:


Yesterday I posted part 1 of our volunteer process in our high school ministry – here’s the second half of the process from start to finish. Let me know if there’s anything that needs clarifying in the comments!

Leader training is a critical and ongoing step in the process, our very best leaders attend small group leader training each year, even as veterans. We regularly give away little books or resources, encourage them with a video or note and even make sure they have ongoing training in their hands every few months.

When there is a crisis in the life of one of our leaders, we are there. Flowers for a death in the family, a visit if they’re in the hospital, prayer over a family crisis – I am a pastor to pastors – and these amazing volunteers are our front line ministers so I need to give them focus, love and care.

Be a cheerleader.

Occasionally you may have to remove a leader. Every year so far we’ve had to deal with the messiness of ministry specifically with volunteers. It may be a personal issue, a doctrinal issue or something to do with lifestyle. Either way, I have to take care of it as it is part of our process. My least favorite one on this list but a necessary evil.

We have some superstar leaders, and when they’re run is over we celebrate. Maybe it is as simple as a note or movie tickets, other times it is dinner at a nice restaurant. Take time to love them our the door if they finish well.


Been talking a little bit about our youth ministry volunteer process since we have a key leader in transition on our team and we want to make sure the DNA and spirit of our group is intact after she’s gone. Here’s what our process looks like – from beginning to end:

We go to as many different arenas in the church as possible to find volunteers. When it’s time to recruit, begin with prayer and go to the places where your best potential leaders are. Talk to groups and talk to specific individuals. Beware of the temptation to commit the seven deadly sins of volunteer recruiting.

Once you’ve made the ask, make sure you have an application for them to fill out. Make sure it is somewhat comprehensive while not being defeating, but discouraging enough to weed out most of the poorer applicants from the start.

Included in the application is the consent for a background search. This is absolutely critical. No one serves with students unless they’ve been professionally screened. The potential volunteer pays the nominal fee for this to be completed.

After the application and interview, we take some time to get to know them. In many churches, you know the potential volunteer already, but take the time to talk with them specifically about what they’re getting into. Share you heart, vision and make sure they have their questions answered, too.

Once they get the green light up to this point of the process, we will assign them an area of ministry. Usually this is revealed during the interview process – sometimes it is where we have a need (like a small group leader) or based on availability (like an event leader) or passion (like a weekend leader). Ideally we would put in 3 and 6 month check ins, but this is less formal in our setting and we just try to catch up with them as we can as they get acclimated to the ministry,

I’ll post part two tomorrow! What’s your process, or what needs clarity from ours? Let me know in the comments.


UPDATE: Click here for the episode. For some reason the show played automatically every time you visited this page.

Episode 150: The Ultimate Administrator
Our 150th show, and the last of 2010. Doug, Matt, Katie, and Josh are all back this week. We find out that admin stuff has Matt in a funk, but he pulls out of it to help answer your questions about: letting teachers decide what to teach, labor force mentality in churches, background checks, Doug is the ultimate administrator, materials to help students grow spiritually, keeping students engaged in youth group, salaries, and dealing with problems with your senior pastor.